Tag Archives: Record Store Day

Randy Travis / Avett Brothers Split 7″ RSD

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This week we bring you an exclusive Record Store Day only release. In 2012, country legend, Randy Travis, and up and coming folk heros, The Avett Brothers, got together to shoot a CMT episode of crossroads. The special featured both artists playing together on classics as well as each other’s songs. This 7″ gives us two songs from the broadcast: from the Avett Brothers a song entitled “February Seven” and a classic Travis song entitled “Three Wooden Crosses”.

The Avett Brother’s have been singing and touring the country for a decade and change, but it seems that they’ve just hit their artistic (and commercial) stride with their latest release, The Carpenter, as well as the album before that, I and Love and You. Their particular blend of bluegrass, folky, rock is hard to describe. Employing a banjo and mandolin, the Avett Brother’s don’t immediately strike one as a modern country band, but instead maybe the comparison can be found in their heartfelt lyrics (dealing with country mainstay subjects such as heartbreak, loneliness, drinking, whiskey, etc). Within the same songs the Brother’s might leap from delicate harmony to biting punk yelp.

Randy Travis, in the same vein, has been around the block more than a few times, although has been performing for a good 22 years longer than the Avett Brothers. CMT Crossroads seems to be a musical production pairing newer artists with stylistic forbearers, and the Avett Brother’s probably couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Maybe it’s the fact that both the Avett Brother’s and Randy Travis are both from North Carolina, but they both manage to wrap heavy topics in music both both accessible yet still distinctive.

Here are our thoughts on the two cuts:

 

February Seven (The Avett Brothers)

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Eric’s Thoughts:   ‘February Seven’ is a slow song from the Avett Brothers album ‘The Carpenter’, but it seems somehow even slower with the addition of Travis’ warm molasses twang. The song itself feels natural with Travis, now instead telling the story of two travel weary brothers meeting a wanderer and finding that they share something of their walk of life. The song’s main theme is of not going back, not having regrets, just continuing with forward motion, even if sometimes you might need a moment’s rest.

Rob’s Thoughts:  I agree with Eric, that Travis and the Avett Brothers seem to really naturally complement each other on these two songs. Not only that, but the two songs seem to share the same theme, albeit with different actors. In February Seven, the narrator is out there looking for something, falls in love with a girl, makes some bad decisions, but is pulled out by earlier woman. This kind of thing is the bread and butter of country songs, and Travis’ twang makes it seem like he could have written it just as easily. The injured hero, who’s no stranger to the darker side of life, is pulled through to the brighter side of things by a love and faith. This song seems to be about a girl, but it could just easily be about god (and a country song without god, a woman, or booze just wouldn’t be a country song, would it?)

Three Wooden Crosses (Randy Travis)

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Rob’s Thoughts: These two songs seem to complement each other really well. They’re both about faith, human connections, and redemption. “Three Wooden Crosses” is a little bit more obvious in the way it goes about the message (country never claimed to be subtle). We’re introduced to our cast of characters right away, a teacher, a preacher, a farmer, and a hooker. There’s a car accident, three of the four die and we’re left with a story of what each character left to the future. The chorus of “It’s not what you take, but it’s what you leave behind you” resonates in each of the characters stories, but the narrator is perhaps the most immediate and wonderful thing left behind by the crash. This song seems to be about how life and death sometimes collide in strange ways, but that for every dead tree there might someday be a flower.

Eric’s Thoughts:  Randy Travis’ classic tragic tale of four disparate travelers on a bus still strikes a chord. This time the song feels a bit sped up, perhaps it’s just the  Avett Brothers infusion of energy chugging the song along. I would say this country ballad suffers little from traded vocals and a slightly increased tempo.

Gonna have to listen to these one’s on Youtube:

Buy The Carpenter, Avett Brother’s latest or Randy Travis’ Rise and Shine.